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I always get asked that question. My family members and friends know about my crazy busy life with work, two kids and also a unique situation. My family lives in Brazil and my husband’s family is in Switzerland, so we don’t have an emergency support system to drop off the kids on the weekend. Ever.
Anyway… I write because I love it. But, thinking back to when I was unpublished… I also wrote because I loved it, and from a very young age, I read. Reading—romance in particular—is what has kept me going through so many things in my life.
Nowadays, even as a writer, reading romance is even more important. I love to shut off my self-editor button and get lost in a world where going to Target by yourself isn’t considered a luxury! A world where the hero has his own private jet, the heroine has magical powers, and in the end, everything is okay. No, wait, it’s better than okay—wonderful, inspiring, awesome. Yep. When it comes to romance, I’m not a fan of cliffhangers.
Somehow, through trial and error, they become the hero we want them to be. These are my favorite characters. Nothing shows love and devotion like a man willing to turn himself around, face his fears, tear down his walls, and give in to the notion of finding his soulmate. Let’s take a look at a few of the guys who’ve made a big impression on me.
- Snape in the Harry Potter series by JK Rowling
Snape is the ultimate anti-hero. He’s cruel to our favorite wizard, he’s shifty, we don’t trust him. And in the end, he sacrifices himself to protect the son of the woman he’s loved—always. Snape got us right in the feels.
- Nix in Mercy by Debra Anastasia
Nix is dark and damaged. He’s a badass who hides behind his ink and stays anonymous in his line of work. All of this in the name of love for a girl who doesn’t know he exists. I’d say that’s dedication.
Enter Beau Montgomery: Georgie’s first love, hotter than ever, and much too much of a southern gentleman to ever pursue someone else’s girl. There’s no way to come clean to Beau while still protecting Will. But bless their hearts, they live in Culler—where secrets always have a way of revealing themselves.
Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book contains a hilarious “fakeship,” a scorching-hot impossible relationship, and a heartwarming best-friendship that will make you want to call your best friend right here, right now.
We had Danielle Ellison, author of THE SWEETHEART SHAM over to the blog to answer our burning questions about all things love & romance. Now, on with the Q&A!
He’s a clergyman. Not that there’s anything wrong with that. It’s just that Verity has been surrounded by churchmen all her life. She wants someone new and different.
His parish is in a small country town. Verity is determined to escape the country and live in more exciting locales.
He’s got some problem with the Archbishop of Canterbury that nobody seems to want to explain. Awkward!
He’s too handsome. Yes, that’s a thing. He would make a very distracting husband. Why even now, when he walks into a ton party, he draws the eye in the most embarrassing way. Verity’s been caught staring more than once.
He manages her mother too well. There’s something suspicious about that, isn’t there?
This was the birth of the Midnight Meetings series. I never intended to share the first book, Meet the Earl at Midnight, with the world. Lord Edward and Lydia’s story was meant to be my break from writing Viking romance. It started when I hunkered down on a rare, rainy California day and wrote a scene that kept playing in my head.
The first half poured out. Satisfied with my side-trip into 18th century Georgian England, I parked Lord Edward and Lydia and went back to Vikings.
Once I signed with my agent, the rubber met the road. She asked me what else I had, so I told her about my half-done Georgian story. She read the partial manuscript and came back with, “When can you finish this?” The manuscript went out on submission and in three weeks caught the interest of two editors. It was mind-boggling. I had to come up with two more story ideas to make a complete three-book series…but we weren’t in fairy tale mode until my new editor, Leah Hultenschmidt, took control.
I’ve loved reading romance since my early teens, and I often finish a book in one sitting even if I have to sacrifice a few hours of sleep to get to the last page. So what do I get from reading all those books?
Here are the top three things that reading romance novels continue to give me:
Reading romance books makes me happy, plain and simple. It’s one of my favorite forms of entertainment. I love reading about two people going through difficult challenges to get their happily-ever-after. It’s a form of escape that I can experience wherever and whenever I want, especially since I don’t mind reading on my phone, which I always have with me.
Oh, yes, I’ve cried with the characters many times. Years ago, there was a particular scene in a book (unfortunately I can’t remember the title of it now) that brought me to tears each and every time I read it. The scene was about the hero losing all hope that the heroine could ever have feelings for him. He’d believed he could never win her heart.
I was hurting at the time, but I didn’t want to admit to myself exactly how much. That book was there to help me let it all out. I found myself opening up the pages to that scene just to have that cathartic experience.
What goes on at a Pack party, you ask?
For one thing, they eat. A lot. Seriously, werewolves can really put away the food. Which means the grills and deep fryers are going overtime when this many Pack members get together. Besides the traditional turkey and ham, they grill steaks and burgers, as well as barbecue ribs and chicken. They also have biscuits, mashed potatoes, and green bean casserole to go along with all that protein. Dessert, too, of course. Cakes, pies, cookies, brownies—you name it and they’ll probably have it. Who knew werewolves had a sweet tooth?
And we can’t forget the Pack’s resident vegetarian werewolf. Lana, the heroine for WOLF HUNGER, has some special dietary needs that the rest of the Pack are keen to figure out. Even though she’s perfectly happy with all the non-meat side dishes, her mate—Max—is determined to go above and beyond for her. He’s even trying to figure out how to make a veggie-based deep-fried turkey. I’m not sure how he’s going to pull that off, but if anyone can, it’s Max!
After everyone finishes eating, which can take a few hours, they play volleyball. Now that the Dallas Pack is getting so large, that means a lot of people to include. This year they may even have to come up with a bracket system and have a playoff championship series. But it’s all in the name of fun. Yeah, it will probably be a little chilly outside, but since when is a werewolf bothered by a little cold weather?
Once the games are done and everyone gets cleaned up, they head inside for the white elephant giveaway. If you’ve never seen one of these before, it’s a game where you draw a number that decides when you get to select a present from the stack under the tree. None of the presents have tags, so you have no idea what you’re getting. It could be something completely ridiculous! Like the wolf mascot costume one of the guys got. Even better, everyone who picks after the first person can either choose a gift under the tree or can “steal” one from the people that have already selected. That rule might seem out of place considering the Pack is made up mostly of police officers, but in this case, it’s okay. It’s all about having fun. Oh, and as you probably already guessed, the guy who got the wolf mascot costume was stuck with it!
After the party, everyone goes home with their soul mates and family. As for the alpha werewolves who have yet to find The One yet, they hang around and play more volleyball and wipe out the leftovers!
ABOUT THE BOOK:
She’s all the wolf he’ll ever need
When SWAT Officer Max Lowry meets Lana Mason, he falls fast and hard. He’s positive she’s The One. And Max’s favorite part? Lana’s a wolf shifter too, so they can skip the awkward reveal and head straight to the happily ever after. There’s just one problem: Lana doesn’t know that she’s a werewolf.
To make matters worse, hunters with intent to kill have tracked Lana to Dallas. Max has to figure out how to keep Lana safe, show her who and what she really is—and just how much she means to him.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Paige Tyler is the USA Today bestselling author of sexy, romantic fiction. She and her very own military hero (also known as her husband) live on the beautiful Florida coast with their adorable fur baby (also known as their dog). Paige graduated with a degree in education, but decided to pursue her passion and write books about hunky alpha males and the kickbutt heroines who fall in love with them.
The way I moved through sections of the bookstores and libraries I frequented seemed like a natural progression at the time, but looking back on it, I can see how my younger self was heavily influenced by the tastes and actions of the people around me.My dad was a fan of mysteries and sci-fi/fantasy, and when I first got bored with the children’s section of the library, it was his books I borrowed. My mom didn’t have a lot of time to read, and when she did she preferred non-fiction that didn’t tend to interest me, so I stuck to dad’s shelves and piles. When school friends brought in romance novels stolen from their mom’s bookshelves, those stories were treated like something lurid and forbidden, and they only ever read aloud the most explicit of the sex scenes they found. To baby me, there was no appeal in a book revolving solely around sex. Since I didn’t have any romance readers in my life to correct my misconceptions, I didn’t pick up a romance novel until after I graduated college when I began working at Borders.
Over the two and a half years I worked at Borders, I held a lot of positions—bookseller, training supervisor, merchandising supervisor, and inventory supervisor. By necessity, I had to put my hands on almost every book in the store and recommending titles and authors in the romance section. I had to read the backs of the books so I knew what was available and what authors to start with if someone was looking for contemporary vs. shapeshifter paranormal. It was only a matter of time before something caught my eye strongly enough to intrigue me to buy a copy and take it home. The first to hit that mark was What I Did For Love by Susan Elizabeth Phillips.
Adventures from my real life that have inspired my books…
As most of my fans know, my husband is retired from SEAL Team and we live a rather active lifestyle. Our home is located in the mountains above San Diego, though we also spend time down at the beach in Coronado. We enjoy mountain biking, flying, kayaking, canoeing, snorkeling, swimming, and a variety of outdoor sports. Also, we are avid readers and devour biographies, how-to manuals, books on philosophy and the mind/body connection.
Together, we have explored kelp beds as we snorkeled in the Pacific ocean, have seen hammerheads and nurse sharks up close. I’ve gotten caught in strong currents and learned how to handle it, and developed a distinct sense of humor about the fact that I lack the ability to master balancing on a paddleboard.
I think it’s important to understand that although I write fiction, there is power in words. How we show our main characters, how we portray the way they handle conflict, the way they step up or slide away from problems in their world is important. To not just show true characterization but also offer a way forward in real life situations.
It’s important to give the characters values that leave a positive impact on the reader and their view of the world around them. It’s a tough world out there right now. And most readers dive into books in order to escape their troubles. They don’t want to be hit over the head with someone else’s moral or ethical compass but they need to see the character’s potential. And see her struggle. See her climb up and over what nightmare has happened in her world. So that they can see their own world might get better one day too.